The Laurie Morton Ruppe Memorial Ringette Tournament is returning to Strathmore from January 27-29. This huge ringette tournament is bringing in 39 teams and more than 550 athletes this year.
Laurie Ruppe was a large part of the ringette community in Strathmore before her passing and played a big role in growing and promoting the sport.
"Her contributions were many and she is sadly missed by our community but will be forever remembered," reads a statement from the Strathmore Minor Ringette Association (SMRA) Tournament Committee.
Brandy Atkinson is the tournament's director and an SMRA board member, and she's looking forward to what should be another amazing tournament.
"I can't even begin to say how excited we are. These tournaments just bring so many athletes together from all over the place, it's very interesting to see the different levels of play that come out of that," Atkinson said.
Of the 39 teams, two will be visiting from Saskatchewan, while many others are teams that the Strathmore Ice normally wouldn't play, so the variety in competition is something all the athletes are looking forward to. On top of the general excitement of a huge tournament coming to town for the athletes, Atkinson is also looking forward to how the entire town will benefit as well, as 550 athletes and their families coming into town should provide a big boost to local businesses.
17-year-old Emma Moore has been playing ringette for 14 years and will be a big part of the tournament on many levels. On top of being a player on the U19B team and ref, she's also the SMRA media liaison. Moore expects this to be her last tournament as a player, and as she reflects on her last Laurie Ruppe Tournament Moore says she's loved how much ringette has been a part of her life.
"It meant quite a bit to me, it's definitely lots of happy memories that I've had with lots of different girls, and I've made so many friends and connections through the sport. It's been amazing to look back and see how much I've done in the sport and how many opportunities it's given me," Moore said.
As for the tournament in general, Moore is excited about it as always saying it's an extra special weekend and time in the ringette season.
"It's just really exciting, it's always a great time for team bonding and for the association. And to see everybody get together and have fun on this one weekend, it's just great to see," Moore said.
While being a player is usually a lot of work on its own, Moore said she wanted to take on the additional responsibility of being a ref and the SMRA media liaison because of her love of ringette.
"I have been involved in the sport for so long, it just seems like another opportunity to have another outlook on the game, and I definitely have learned a lot about the reffing side of things. It's also taught me a lot about my playing and how I can improve it."
Even though it's her last season as a player, Moore hopes to return as a ref in this tournament for years to come. As for where her playing career could take her, she hopes to join a university ringette team.
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